Father’s Day is here – and as some children shower their dads with hand-drawn paintings, kisses and hugs many more will be left passing the day as if it were any other.
In the African-American community, many fathers remain absent from their children’s lives – leaving 64 percent of black children to grow up in households without their biological father present, according to 2011 U.S. Census Bureau data. This is double the number of white children who grow up in homes with a single mother.
In effort to bring more awareness to this issue, filmmaker Kobie Brown has created and produced a documentary titled From Fatherless to Fatherhood. In the film, he sheds light on the importance and quality of fatherhood and documents the stories of healthy father-son relationships.
“I was inspired to make this film because all communities are strengthened by the presence of strong families and most traditionally, that depends on the nuclear mother and father roles,” Brown tells theGrio. “When those are missing, you see the negative effects that has on a family and their children.”
The documentary features the narrative of several individuals, issues and relationships including one woman and her father who has been absent most of her life and has recently re-entered with hopes of walking her down the aisle at her upcoming wedding.
Another story of a father whose son has been diagnosed with testicular cancer is also featured and the film captures the support and guidance the dad provides during the trying times.
“There is also a couple who both grew up without fathers and they talk about how the absence of their father has inspired them to stay together as a married couple,” Brown says.
Brown says his ultimate goal is to impact absent black fathers by helping them understand the importance of raising a child and to hopefully transform more of these men into becoming responsible fathers.
“Fathers who are absent are usually men who don’t fully grasp how important they are to the lives of their children,” he says. “They lack the faith that’s necessary, a lack of commitment and a have a certain degree of fear.”
Beyond the guilt some fathers may feel, many don’t understand the impact their absence has on their children.
“What I found is those who grew up without fathers, in some ways may not even know they have been impacted by it,” Brown says. “At the core there’s a certain longing and desire to learn know more about themselves and what could’ve been.”
Brown hopes his documentary will change the way people view parenting, and specifically fatherhood.
He says he expects it to provide an opportunity to add dialogue and serious thought on how parents are raising the next generation.
“Not only does a good father provide a good example of what we can anticipate in terms of dealing with the world, he also gives us a sense of confidence, certainty and information,” Brown says.
“A good father is someone who is strong in his faith and understands that they have been tasked with creating and having a vision for his family and going everything is his power to provide the necessary resources,” he adds. “It requires a great deal of sacrifice.”
From Fatherless to Fatherhood will debut nationwide on the Aspire Network on Sunday, June 16th at 8 p.m.
Follow Lilly Workneh @Lilly_Works
Watch the trailer here: